A dominant complaint in team dynamics is silo thinking. Leaders want their teams to work collaboratively and call us in to “Bust Silo’s”. However, busting silo’s can feel harsh and aggressive. The desire to break down silos is usually to inspire more collaboration, efficiency, sharing of strengths and talent while achieving the global goals and mission of the organization. It’s human nature to defend what we care about. If there is any threat to our primary identity, we fight to protect it. So, if a team development session is billed as a “Busting Silo’s” event you can gaurantee that people will show up prepared to defend their territory.
So what is a different way of achieving collaboration other than Busting Silo’s? In our work we refer to it as Building Bridges. First, we need to understand what is important and valued in each role, team or department. What do they take pride in doing? What do they contribute towards the organization’s mission? What do they value?
To create alignment and ease our way into a shared perspective, we need to first build bridges and visit the different perspectives. A willingness to be open to influence is key. A positive intention to be curious and explore is required. An ability to search for common interests is essential. A commitment to listening and appreciation set the tone. Once the bridges are built it’s much easier to navigate the diversity that lives in our organizations and teams, yet find some shared ground from which you can access the bigger picture and shared mission. These are the conditions that support powerful collaborations within teams, across departments and amongst divisions.